This month of January, the Morro Bay Art Center is showing artists’ work focusing on the birds that we’ve seen locally and afar. I have entered three oil paintings and notecards. The Morro Bay Winter Bird Festival takes place every year In January when the birds migrate into and through Morro Bay. A very exciting time!
The show is open January 11 – February 19, 2018.
The duck display of courtship can be quite amusing or showy. Videos capture it very well, but since I paint stills you’ll have to enjoy and imagine what might be next. Lots of feathers flapping in display intrigue me.
To see prices, please go to the pages for available artwork at the top of this page.
First, I wish to invite you to my studio both weekends, October 14-15 and 21-22. Come visit for trees, a duck, several orchids, pastels and a few oils from anywhere!
Please pick up a catalog to see my location, Studio #41, in Morro Bay.
I’m looking forward to seeing you!
Second, Facebook followers remember to press the hyperlink to get to my website and sign up to follow me.
The creeks from the county finally flow into the bay, then down to the ocean…
Ducks galore will be arriving from the north as the weather cools and daylight becomes shorter.
Facing the Pacific Ocean and Morro Bay, the views are always inviting me to gaze at the ever changing moody skies and brilliant colors. Tides rise and fall making the pickle weed marshes like chameleons. Light never is quite the same.
Sand dunes reaching for Morro Rock…
From one of the first pull offs in Montaña de Oro, I overlooked the sand spit reaching for Morro Rock. I was high up and could look down on the native woody shrubs as late summer faded them into a golden hue.
A surfers’ more northern access to the Pacific Ocean via the wide Estero Bay when looking to capture the southerly breaks… I often notice the power and weight of Morro Rock, a long eroded volcanic peak formed 23 million years ago.
I’ve been gathering together some of my tree pastels for the San Luis Obispo 2017 Open Studios Tour. Here are just a few that are available in the “original” pastel form. They’ll be framed.
Laguna Lake is a special place for birders, energetic runners, hikers, walkers and bloggers. A friend, Joyce Cory, is a keen observer at Laguna Lake. Follow the link. Also, one of my favorite eucalyptus trees is there. You may have seen it in a previous post.
The Heron Rookery near the Windy Cove and Morro Bay Museum is a great viewing location for Great Blue Herons, Great and Snowy Egrets along with the ever present Cormorants.
Sweet Springs is one of the best locations for birdwatching…ducks, herons, eagles, raptor, owls, etc.
If you prefer the note card size, I’ll make some for you too.
This summer, showing my paintings in the Morro Bay Art Association was great success… It was a show of the favorite places that visitors to our town love to see… “Morro Rock.” I’ve sketched and painted it numerous times. We all love the “rock” in all its personalities. The one below is a bright day with a bit of the marine layer in the distance. It often creeps in gradually…
Morro Rock, a State Historic Landmark, was formed about 23 million years ago from the plugs of long-extinct volcanoes. Morro Rock was an important navigational aid for mariners for over 300 years because the rock is approximately 576 feet tall which made it the most visible, however not the tallest, in a chain of 9 peaks. Portuguese explorer, Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo named the rock “El Morro” in 1542. In Spanish “Morro” means crown shaped hill. Morro Rock, sometimes called the “Gibraltar of the Pacific,” is the last peak of the Nine Sisters, which extend from San Luis Obispo to Morro Bay.
The rock itself was quarried on and off until 1963. Morro Rock provided material for the break waters of Morro Bay and Port San Luis Harbor and other coastal jetties in addition to walls and houses in San Luis Obispo. In 1966, a bill was introduced which transferred the full title to the State of California. Later the San Luis Obispo County Historical Society and the City of Morro Bay succeeded in getting the Morro Rock declared as a California Registered Historical Landmark #821. Morro Rock, also, became State Landmark #801 in 1968. The rock has since been designated a bird sanctuary for the peregrine falcon and other bird species. Bird enthusiasts may follow the peregrine activities on the website Pacific Coast Peregrine Watch.
This painting has a marine layer building over the cold Pacific Ocean while the foreground where I stood is bright and sunny. No wonder that we all love it so much and see artists gazing at it and painting it frequently.
These two oil paintings were SOLD. That put my spirits and bank account in a very positive mode. If you ever see a piece of artwork that you’d like to have, please contact me. Many can be made into notecards.
Remember that the San Luis Obispo County 2017 Open Studios Tour is coming up in October 14-15, 21-22.
In January, Morro Bay puts on a Winter Bird Festival. Because of the king tides pushing the birds on the bay close to the boardwalk where I walk, it was spectacular. People took trips to see birds at the Carrizo Plains, Owling at Night, Birding by Bicycle, Osos Flaco, Sweet Springs and did a Big Day and Little Big Day bird count !
I recalled many years ago as a child, I had painted a Ruddy Duck for my grandmother. (Listen to podcast) I was about 10 years old. In honor of that time, I decided to paint a Ruddy Duck in courtship mode slapping its bill against its chest making a myriad of bubbles. You may see it on exhibit at the Morro Bay Art Center on Main Street.
I, also, entered a Common Loon with a Chick riding on its back and a California Quail which I have yet to photograph, but you may see them all until they take the show down on the 6th of February 2017.
The grand total raised for the Pacific Coast Peregrine Watch is $316.25. It was made up of 25% from my sales of pastels, watercolors, notecards and a painting of a great horned owl on elk hide which equaled $161.25. Add in the PCPW table sales of $155 for mitered corner dinner napkins, peregrine pins and stuffed falcon toys.
I am so pleased! You all made it possible. Thank you.
If any of you still would like to make a $20 donation plus tax and receive a set of two, mitered corner dinner napkins, please contact me.
I have two sets of gull napkins, two sets of dinosaur napkins, two sets of perching birds on white napkins and three sets of chicken napkins. Let me know what you’d like.
My commitment is to have students be curious, love the sciences and be good scientists to expand our knowledge and care of our planet. There most certainly is a lot to take care of !
My first chance to participate in the Open Studios Tour turned out pretty well ! Lots of visitors including friends, neighbors, mothers with artistic children and many new people who just decided to see what I was creating. If you have the desire to see any pastels, notecards or mitered corner napkins, to purchase for holiday gifts, please contact me in the form below my signature.
One of the most exciting things was that I raised $155 for the Pacific Coast Peregrine Watch on sales of mitered corner napkins, stuffed peregrine toys, peregrine pins, hats and t-shirts. People understood that 25% of any sales I made would go to the Pacific Coast Peregrine Watch which is a 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit who gives a $1,000 scholarship to a Cal Poly Wildlife Biology student.
People loved my pastels of seascapes, Morro Rock, the CalPoly Arboretum and were fascinated with my birds painted on elk hide for wall hangings.
The view out of my small studio over our raised bed garden with the Pacific Ocean in the distance was a pleasant surprise to many visitors.
As I continue to prepare for the first day of the Tour, October 8th, everything is coming in line…many pastels are mounted in frames, others are matted and put in clear bags, a Common Loon with a Chick riding on its back has been framed for the exhibit at Central Art Supply, 1329 Monterey St., San Luis Obispo. Please come to this reception on Friday, October 7 from 6-9PM. I’ll be there!
Bob Isenberg is at Morro Rock to educate the public about the life cycles, personalities and antics of these peregrine falcons, the fastest animal on the planet! This organization is close to my heart and keeps us in touch with the fragility of all lives in the natural world. Always a good way to keep us informed about how to take care of our planet.
Until the next sketch….peace, Heather
* Elk hide – Hunters who hunt for meat for the winter often will have the hide tanned to be used in many ways. My first elk hide was given to me by a Shoshone friend in Ward, Nevada after I showed him my sketch books. The majority of hides are often discarded by hunters who don’t bother to use the hide only to have them retrieved from the trash by the Native Americans and carefully tanned and used in a more thoughtful manner. I’m now participating in this by making artistic use of all pieces and the scraps. Knowing this, my son gave me one of his elk hides after providing meat for his family.
This year, a very exciting opportunity presented itself. The ArtsObispo Open Studio Tour happens every October and I jumped at the chance.
Word got around that I was new to this, so I was interviewed by Crissa Hewitt and Steven deLuque for our local PBS station KCBX.org. They are artists in their own right and were so nice to ask me questions that truly took me to the source of why I make pictures. You may listen live at 1PM Wednesday, September 7. To hear it later search my name (Heather O’Connor) at KCBX.org for the interview.
You may take a tiny peak into my tiny studio… in the upper left corner !
A friend, Alyce Broome, is joining me in displaying our artwork. Her oil paintings are aerial views of the California landscapes. Just like a bird would see when flying over our planet! Visit both of our entries in the ArtsObispo Directory. Just enter Alyce Broome’s name or mine (Heather O’Connor) and you’ll find what we posted for this year’s tour. Be sure to click on my “orchid” to see my other entries.
My acrylic bird paintings on elk hide will include 2 Common Loons, one with a chick on her back, a Painted Bunting, a Canyon Wren, and a Harlequin Duck. Others may be custom ordered and will benefit the Pacific Coast Peregrine Watch. 25% will go to a CalPoly Biology Scholarship.
My pastels include a series of seascapes including marine layers, kite festival, rough winter waves and offshore views from Montaña de Oro CA State Park and landscapes of the Nine Sisters in springtime and gnarly trees of the California Central Coast.
And please come visit me at my studio October 8-9 and 15-16, 10AM to 5PM.